Something I have mentioned before and will no doubt come up again ...often is Permaculture.
Permaculture is a type of gardening which was developed in the '70's but David Holmgren and Bill Mollinsen. A good description of Permaculture would be of a design system which works in harmony with nature. It looks at the garden and its environment as a whole where everything interrelates. A permaculture garden is designed for little maintenance, make use of the lay of the land and tends to concentrate mainly on Perennials as annuals tend to be high maintenance. As plants are place according to their watering needs less water is used in permaculture gardens. Water loving plants are placed around swales, or at the bottom of a hill and in the cooler parts of the garden; whereas plants which require less water are planted at higher points in the garden where water will drain away. Permaculture is very much about being practical when designing your garden.
There is a group of interested people out there who are volunteers helping Australia and New Zealand Permaculture their gardens. They are called Permablitz, and I must say i am honoured to have had them come to my garden where we set up a chook shed and veggie garden and dug a swale. You can see what they get up to on their website. There's a link for them here.
Here is a picture of a small permaculture garden design at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show designed by Kate Galea. She has successfully made use of many recycled items and chosen a no dig style of garden. The compost bin practically disappears into the plants.
- In a nutshell permaculture is about looking after the earth, looking after each other and our communities, sharing food and resources so nobody and nothing goes without. The principles of permaculture include the following:
- Observe and interact.Check out what is happening in your garden. What lives there, birds, wildlife, bugs, bees. Have a good look and consider how you can encourage the good things and discourage the pests. Having plants for small birds to nest in will help keep down the bug population. Planting lots of flowers will encourage butterflies and bees. Observe the outdoor residents of your garden.
- Catch and store energy.
- Obtain a yield, no matter how small or big your garden, from the smallest balcony to the biggest farm everyone can obtain a yeild of somesort. If you live in an apartment use pots to grow herbs and small veggies in.
- Apply self regulation & Accept feedback. In drier regions this is especially important.
- Use and value renewable resources and services.
- Produce no waste- recycle, reuse and reduce all your waste.
- Design from patterns to details.
- Integrate rather than segregate- get involved with your community, talk to your neighbours and share your resources and produce.
- Use small and slow solutions.
- Use and value diversity.
- Use edges and value the marginal.
- Creatively use and respond to change.